Skull and Bones Game Logo
Skull and Bones Game Logo

After a few misstarts, Ubisoft’s “Skull and Bones” finally made waves with its release in February – promising players a vast open-world pirate adventure. Unfortunately, those waves quickly came crashing down, and all the anticipation that had built up completely disappeared. The game which reportedly cost $200 million to make and had a decade-long development time, seemed like a flop. Ubisoft stated that they did not expect it to break even, but thoughts of even getting close seem unrealistic.

Skull and Bones
Skull and Bones

About 12 days after the initial launch a report came out from Insider Gaming that claimed the peak player totals and active player counts were very weak – showing the total player account well below 1 million users. To top that off, the numbers being reported included players on the Free Demo (many of which likely canceled). Here’s a summary of the article:

  • 850,000 total players, including free trial users
  • Average playtime 3-4 hours per day per user
  • Issues & disagreement over the $70 price tag (some thinking it was too high)
  • Users described as “fairly engaged” by internal metrics
  • The mood at Ubisoft to be “grim” given the state of the project
  • Ubisoft not expecting to earn money from the game

Separately there was data to suggest that:

Key Takeaways. Skull and Bones has a peak player count of 850,000 as of February 2024. Ubisoft achieved record engagement but faces strong competition in the gaming market. The game’s community is active, with potential for further growth and discussion on pricing.

Since that information was published, nearly every other article, news report, or update has been about something bad related to the game. This includes a fairly telling update that the game price was reduced (although not by enough) to $59.99.

Ubisoft doesn’t make gameplay & active player account data public, but 3rd party analysis tools showed significant drops across the board in the number of players. On Xbox, just two weeks after launch there were reports that “Skull and Bones” player counts had decreased by a third. The Google trends data is also somewhat telling of the game:

skull and bones interest google

Initial Release and Player Engagement

“Skull and Bones” launched with high hopes from Ubisoft, aiming to capture the hearts of players who love pirate adventures. At first, it looked promising. The game landed in PlayStation’s top 10 most-played games. But, its success was short-lived. It quickly lost its spot, hinting at a drop in player interest. This fall was faster than some critics and fans expected. On Xbox, the game dropped to 47th in the most-played list a few weeks post-launch, showing a significant decline. It currently isn’t even on the top 50 which is somewhat remarkable for such a new, big-budget game.

Skull and Bones vs. Helldivers 2

Skull and Bones vs. Helldivers 2


“Skull and Bones” promised a big adventure on the high seas. At first, gamers were excited. They expected epic battles and a rich world to explore. However, excitement dropped as players got into the game. Many found that “Skull and Bones” lacked the fun parts they hoped for. The game made you captain a ship, but not in the way many liked. It seemed to miss the mark compared to older pirate games. Even the graphics, while nice, couldn’t keep players hooked for long.

Slow updates and lack of support from the developers might have been the final nail in the coffin for this game. Once it fell out of the top 10 on Xbox (which came quickly) it fell off a cliff. Players and fans feel let down. It’s unknown if new content and game fixes will come quickly. Support has already been lacking. With a play base seemingly abandoning ship and moving on to other games, the future of “Skull and Bones” may already have been written.

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